For a kindergartner, my daughter has a pretty decent concept of what baptism is. Her class had a unit on baptism in the fall, and she came home excited about it every day. One day she announced to me seriously, “Mommy, if the devil tempts me, I can tell him, ‘Get away from me, devil. I am baptized.'” Absolutely true, and incredibly mature for a kindergarten student. But how many of us really take our baptisms that seriously?
Yesterday being the Baptism of our Lord got me thinking about baptism. In our family, baptisms are a big deal. Family members plan weeks in advance to come from out of town for a baptism. We’re already planning dates for the baptism of our unborn baby, who is due on Valentine’s Day. But beyond the actual baptism date, many of us take for granted the power of baptism. That’s why I love the reminder from my kindergartner. She understands that baptism has power. Through our baptisms we are given victory over sin, Satan, and death. I love the words of the hymn “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It” (#594 in Lutheran Service Book). There is a verse directed at each of the three antagonists mentioned above, showing that they indeed have no claim over a baptized child of God. Check out those verses, #2-4:
Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me Since my baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, Sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?
Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation, I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled, All your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me!
Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness To inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes Faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine To make life immortal mine.
What a beautiful comfort! Our biggest three enemies have been defeated by our Lord. Oh, they still try to lure us away, but we need only point to our baptism to show them they cannot win us over. Baptism is that powerful. People often ask why Jesus needed to be baptized, since He had no sin. And that question has been answered in many different ways, but I love the point that He stooped down in His baptism to fully identify with us sinners, so that through our own baptisms, we sinners could be elevated to saints. Thank you, Jesus, for such a precious gift!